Solar energy--direct from space

High energy prices got you down? 

Well look up, way up for the solution. According to a recent Zero Hedge article https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/us-military-plans-harvest-solar-energy-space-beam-it-earth the newly formed Space Force (https://www.spaceforce.mil) is planning to harvest solar energy and transmit it back to Earth.

A short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKKtrWTDusA released by The US Air Force Research Laboratory (https://www.afrl.af.mil) explains it is currently being targeted for military use. "Ensuring that a forward operating base maintains reliable power is one of the most dangerous parts of military ground operations. Convoys and supply lines are a major target for adversaries," the narrator of a new AFRL video said.   

According to a Breaking Defense article https://breakingdefense.com/2021/04/solar-power-sats-help-drive-dod-deep-space-push/, the pilot test is this summer and with no issues with weather or cloud cover, etc. the potential is not only unlimited but could be done on an individual level down the road. Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations and Research Project (SSPIDR) will use an Arachne satellite which converts sun energy to radio frequency and beam it down to a land-based antenna eventually converting to useable power.  Arachne, which is SSPIDR’s flagship experiment, is  based on the Helios bus  provided by Northrop Grumman Space Systems under a $25 million contract. The experimental satellite will carry various day-to-day operating systems and the experimental SSPRITE payload (also being developed by Northrop Grumman) designed to demonstrate solar energy collection, according to SSPIDR Project Manager James Winter. 

The idea of harvesting energy from space is nothing new but the Space Force is finally making it happen. This is just the beginning for the new arm of the US military as time will show it to be one of the greatest entities not just for astronomy for humanity in general. No doubt a floodgate of additional information will become public in 2021 when all the secret space programs, UFO files and alien disclosers are expected to unfold very soon. More to come as “The Best is Yet to Come!”

Sky watch for the next month: Download this month’s sky free chart at http://whatsouttonight.com/Resources/2021JulSkyWOT.pdf  

1New Moon Sets after Sun- Friday, July 09th look NW at 21:43 as the Moon follows the Sundown; can you spot it above the horizon?

2Moon, Mars and Dusk Venus- Sunday, July 11th look NWW at 21:42 after sundown and watch this trio before they set around 23:00 for the night.

3Jupiter, Moon and Saturn Dawn- Sunday, July 25th before 06:00 am look SW as this trio hangs out before disappearing into the sunrise sky.

4Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower Peak- Tuesday Jul 27th until the end of the month, look in the constellation Aquarius  1-2 hours before dawn as it expected debris from comet 96P Machholz will fall at a rate of 15-20 per hour but the waning gibbous moon will make it harder.

Happy Long Days of Summer and Keep Reaching for the Sky!

Neel Roberts is a local astronomer in Southern Alberta and welcomes your comments at Neel_Roberts@ptccanada.com, Tel: (403) 560-6574. Check out his work at www.ptccanada.com.

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